Montres MDM Fabrication
Well, this isn't very nice. I show up at a building in Geneva's
city center expecting to find the offices of watchmaker Hublot
but instead find out that it's just a mail drop. Lots of companies
do this in Switzerland. Why? Many do it for tax purposes. Switzerland
is divided into cantons (similar to states in the USA) and each
canton sets its own tax rates. I tell the woman I mailed a letter
here four weeks ago to CEO Carlo Crocco of MDM (Hublot). Would
it have been forwarded to Hublot's actual physical offices? "Yes",
she answers and then gives me an address in Nyon, a town about
15 miles from here.
I'm currently in Geneva, part of the canton Geneva and Nyon lies
in the adjacent canton of Vaud. How come someone from Hublot
didn't contact me via email with the different address info?
Nyon is a spiffy little town of maybe 5,000 inhabitants overlooking
Lake Geneva. A medieval castle stands guard up on a hill in the
old town area. Heading a mile inland from the city center brings
me to a 10-story building, which looks to have been built in
the 1980's. I see MDM's name listed on an exterior building directory
so I know this is the place. It's a mixed-use area with apartment
buildings right across the street.
After checking in with the receptionist on the second floor I
take a seat in a small waiting area. Before long Brigitte Makhzani,
Press & PR Manager, greets me and to my dismay, says they
hadn't received my letter of introduction. However, it proves
not be a problem thanks to the hospitable and accommodating Makhzani.
About 50 people work here with MDM (Hublot) owning the first
four floors of the building (in Switzerland you can own floors
in an office building). Employee parking is free and plentiful,
smoking isn't allowed in the workplace, there're no recreational
facilities, no formal dress code and no cafeteria-though there's
a break room with microwave. It's four minutes to the nearest
freeway, 15 minutes to Geneva's airport and five minutes to the
center of Nyon. Was or is there a Mr. Hublot? Nope, it's the
French word for a ship's porthole-which inspired founder and
CEO Crocco's first line of watches in 1980.
Asking to see Crocco's office turns out to be an easy request
for Makhzani to fulfill. Why? All I have to do is turn around
in my chair since the questions are being answered in a small
meeting room connected to Crocco's office. His second floor middle
office contains one plant (real) and a computer. On one wall
hang two posters showing Hublot watches and on another are three
black & white photos of India. The view out his window? An
unexciting view of the parking lot.